Watchdogs blast delay in electoral reforms
KABUL (Pajhwok): Electoral watchdogs on Saturday lambasted delay in electoral reforms, saying there was lack of roadmap for reforms and holding parliamentary elections.
Electoral reforms were a major point of agreement among leaders on which the unity government was formed.
The electoral reforms commission was formed following a presidential decree but still hasn’t embarked on its task. The delay, according to electoral watchdogs, show the government still did not have strong will for reforms.
Mohammad Yusuf Rashid, executive director of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA), voiced concerns about the delay, saying seven months after formation of the unity government the leaders were prolonging the process.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News there was no clear roadmap for electoral reforms and the unity government’s leaders were divided on the vital issue.
Rashid said political will was important at this moment and the more the leaders delayed the reforms the more they would lose time and opportunity.
He added it was important that the leaders did not interfere in the commission’s affairs and did not treat it as a symbolic entity. He warned without proper reforms the upcoming parliamentary elections would be marred by fraud, corruption and behind-the-curtain dealings which wouldn’t be acceptable to majority of the people.
Naeem Ayubzada, Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) director, said lack of proper definition of reforms and differences over appointing the panel’s members were major impediments on the road ahead.
“We want them to work not to kill time. We want them to take up reforms so that we have a fair election in Afghanistan,” he said adding, “but if the situation continues like this without reforms, without confidence-building measures, and without due preparations then it would be difficult to hold fair ballot.”
Gul Ahmad Madadzai, a member of electoral reforms commission, said the unity government leaders had violated the law when it came to reforms and conducting of upcoming parliamentary elections.
He added based on constitution it was imperative to hold elections at least two month prior to finishing term of the incumbent parliament, but the government did not have any plans for holding elections.
Farkhunda Zahra Naderi, a legislator, said delay in electoral reforms meant delay in parliamentary elections. She warned if parliamentary elections got affected that meant the whole nation would be affected.
“I personally am not in favour of delay in elections because people voted for us and we entered a social contract to be answerable to them,” she added.
Mujib Rahimi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)’s spokesman, said the electoral reforms commission would start its work soon and denied any difference between the president and the CEO.
He added the panel should have started work earlier, but recent events in the country caused delay.
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